Why lecturers rejected pay offer

Kenya University Staff Union (KUSU) Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya (centre) with other union officials addresses the press in Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]
Lecturers have rejected the latest proposed collective bargaining agreement, saying it did not address the issues they had raised.

Through the Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu), the lecturers, who are on strike, said the 2017-2021 CBA proposal by the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) was not acceptable.

The proposal offers an accumulative rate of 1.75 per cent increment on basic salary over four years, translating to 0.435 per cent annualised increment, and 0 per cent (nil) increment on house allowance.

Constantine Wasonga, the Uasu national secretary general, said lecturers had rejected the offer because it did not address their concerns.

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 “The objectives of salary review in the proposal were to improve the transparency of the academic staff salary structure to reduce the level of compressions and inversions and enhance academic salaries towards parity with equivalent staff within the universities and in other public sector organisations,” says Dr Wasonga in a letter dated May 14 and addressed to the IPUCCF chairman, Paul Kanyari.

Wasonga said the offer ignored the methodology used in generating the proposal, which includes review and analysis of local and international pay structures for universities.

 “This includes application of parameters such as reference salary, salary scale spread, mid-point differential and salary scale overlap; determination job worth and analysis of purchasing power of salaries due to the cost of living,” he says.

Instead, Wasonga tabled the proposed Uasu academic staff grades 2017–2021 CBA that states that graduate assistant be in group PUG–11, assistant lecturer/tutorial fellow PUG–12, lecturer PUG–13, senior lecturer PUG–14, associate professor PUG–15, and professor PUG–16.

In their proposal, lecturers settled on a reference basic salary of Sh385,610 a month.

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Wasonga explained that proposals such as restructuring of academic staff salary scales to remove the current excessive pay overlaps, distortions, compressions and inversions had not been addressed.

“No basis has been provided for the 1.75 per cent increment on basic salary and over the four-year CBA cycle, translating into 0.435 per cent annualised increment, and 0 per cent increment on house allowance,” says Wesonga.

He explained that since the average annual inflation rate was about 7 per cent and average increase in rent was 10 per cent, the counter-offer was not sufficient to cushion members.

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